We lined up in the white away strip without Marc Fitzpatrick after his decision not to take up the offer of a deal that would have kept him with us till the end of the season. Ross Forbes stepped in on the left side of midfield.
United were first to threaten when a cheeky back heel set up Russell for a low curling drive that cracked the base of the post. Ten minutes passed without Motherwell mounting any sort of attack then Buaben forced a good save from Randolph and Goodwillie rounded the keeper but was forced too wide. It seemed inevitable that the home team would be first to score.
Brines gets the game underway
We reached the break still level, though not without a few hairy moments. Randolph had easily earned his match fee for a string of decent saves, although most shots were from distance. At the other end we had a Sutton volley from 18 yards still rising as it flew over the bar, a Murphy run into the box followed by a side footed effort at Pernis and a long range free kick from Forbes which went high.
United pressed after the re-start and we could hardly complain when they took the lead. Buaben missed a sitter after a spill from Randolph and moments later the crowd woke up when referee Brines booked Dixon for a dive inside the box. A corner followed and Kenneth beat the defence to head into the six yard box. Russell headed across goal and in off the post.
Until the goal the game had been played at what might be called a leisurely pace. It then crawled. There was no spirited attempt by Motherwell to recover the game and Pernis was a spectator. Having said that United didn’t look impressive either, still, they were one up.
Forbes came off to give Jamie Pollock a run and with ten minutes remaining Casagolda replaced Lasley. We had a chance when Murphy’s cross found Humphry’s head at the far post. A defending body got in the way on the goal line.
Just to make the night of misery complete Goodwillie scored as the clock reached 90 minutes.
Can McCall pull a rabbit (or three) from the hat before the end of January?